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Flareside Was a Really Weird Pickup Thing for a Long Time

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2016

I think it's time to discuss a strange phenomenon that afflicted the pickup-truck world for decades: Flareside. It was also called stepside -- or, if you ask me, really-weird-side. Why did this happen? And why did it last so long? We may never know.

Here's the basic background. Back in the day, you could buy a pickup truck in one of two ways: with a normal bed and normal sides that looked straight, dull and unexciting, or with something that Ford called Flareside and that other truck brands called stepside. Basically, it meant that your rear fenders were flared.

Of course, it also meant that there wasn't as much room in your pickup truck's bed as there was in a normal pickup truck's bed. You were compromising your truck's ability to actually be a truck ... in the name of flared fenders.

"Nah, I can't haul all that mulch," you'd tell your mulch supplier. "But I got flared fenders." And then the mulch supplier would gaze at the fenders longingly, wishing he could have such a thing, but of course he would never, ever be that cool, because he supplies mulch.

Interestingly, despite the obvious limitations, Flareside lasted for a long time. A seriously long time. As late as 2010, Ford was still selling a Flareside knock-off called Styleside (formerly the name they gave to a "normal" truck bed), which intruded on the bed by a couple inches. Chevy offered it into the 2000s. And even the Toyota Tundra got in on the game, offering a stepside bed on first-generation models sold through 2006.

But the days of Flareside are now behind us, so I think it's time to look back in self-reflection, admire those flared fenders, really peruse them with our eyes, and ask ourselves, "What were we thinking?"

Flareside

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Flareside Was a Really Weird Pickup Thing for a Long Time - Autotrader